WASHINGTON — President Bush paid tribute Sunday to 156 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty last year.
The names of the officers were added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, along with 259 others who died in previous years but were not engraved on the memorial, which was dedicated in 1991.
"All of these men and women served the cause of justice," Bush said at a memorial service on the Capitol lawn. "Our nation stands in admiration and gratitude for their service, and we ask God's blessings for the families and friends they have left behind."
Sunday was Peace Officers Memorial Day. Bush has marked the day every year since he became president by speaking at a memorial service.
Bush was joined on stage by Cabinet secretaries, senators and other federal officials. Thousands of uniformed police officers and relatives of the fallen were in the audience. Country singer Darryl Worley sang "I Miss My Friend" in tribute.
Bush said the nation must never take its police officers for granted, and cited a few who died last year: two Detroit officers killed while making a traffic stop; a sheriff's deputy from Pennsylvania killed while serving a bench warrant; and an Arizona officer who died while diving for evidence in a murder case.
After his remarks, Bush placed a red carnation in a memorial wreath set up on the Capitol lawn.
The program, which listed the names of 156 officers killed on the job in 2004, was delayed by more than 90 minutes while Bush hugged and greeted the family members in the audience.